Tuen Mun landfill

All three landfill expansion plans to be resubmitted to Legco

Shelved Tseung Kwan O dump extension to be revived, says Carrie Lam, signalling new battle

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 July, 2013, 6:00am

The plan to expand the landfill in Tseung Kwan O is to be resubmitted to the Legislative Council, along with expansion proposals for landfills in Tuen Mun and Ta Kwu Ling, after the legislature's summer recess, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said yesterday.

But Sai Kung district councillors said it was still unlikely lawmakers would approve the expansion at Tseung Kwan O.

Lam's announcement came after Legco passed a motion on Friday to adjourn debate on funding to extend the landfills in Tuen Mun and Ta Kwu Ling.

The Tseung Kwan O proposal had been shelved earlier after residents expressed strong opposition to it.

Lam said yesterday that the government would visit the districts and gather more residents' views on the expansion plans in the coming months.

"We can't give up extensions to any of the three landfills, so we hope when we submit the plans again, we can table all three together," she said. "I hope the public will understand that the blueprint for the sustainable use of resources is a 10-year plan, so it's not practical to expect a marked result in the short term."

Gary Fan Kwok-wai, a NeoDemocrats legislator and Sai Kung district councillor, said there was little room for discussion of the expansion plan in Tseung Kwan O. "It will just force us to restage protests," he said. "I can't see how they will be able to implement compensatory measures in a short period of time."

He expects the plans to expand the three landfills will be less unpopular after the recess, because the government could roll them out with a consultation on charging for waste disposal.

Sai Kung district councillor Christine Fong Kwok-shan, who staged a hunger strike before the government withdrew the Tseung Kwan O plan, also said it was unlikely the government would be able to persuade residents to support the plan within just a few months.

"They couldn't handle the problem for the past three years," she said. "How can they do it in three months?"

Executive councillor Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun said Legco's Finance Committee had "done a good deed" by adjourning the debate on funding for landfill extensions, and that the government could take its time in preparing to reintroduce its proposals.

The adjournments avoided time being wasted on a filibuster of the proposals, she said.

"The government can now take the proposals to the district councils and the community and explain them in detail.

"Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and other principal officials should also reach out to the public to improve communication."

Bernard Chan, another Exco member, said politicians had not wanted to face up to the problem of waste management.

Chan, also the chairman of the Council for Sustainable Development, said it was now the right time to introduce fees for waste disposal, and that the council was studying how to implement charges.